I love my wife. I love my family. But do I love them as much as I love my boss. I scoffed and said of course I love my family more than my boss or my job, but then I thought about it a little. And you know what? It now appears as though I love my boss more than I love my wife. Here is the evidence:
Have you ever heard your partner say, “I shouldn’t have to tell you, you should already know!” I am apparently supposed to be able to anticipate my wife’s needs, and use my initiative to put in place those things she wants, before she actually asks for them; or even better, before she even knows she wants to ask. I would normally say that this is impossible, I’m not a mind reader, but the truth is I do this on a daily basis for my boss. I know him. I know him well enough to anticipate what he is going to want to do next, and I use my initiative to put measures in place to achieve them before he’s even asked. Why can I do this for him, when I can’t even anticipate when my wife wants a cup of tea?!
Has your partner ever asked you a question and you’ve stood in silence not knowing what the correct answer should be? Of course you could say the truth, but in reality you know that’s not what they want to hear, but you can’t for the life of you think of what the correct truth should be? That’s never happened with my boss. Every time he’s asked me a question or set me a job, I’ve not only understood the specified task but also all those implied tasks that come with it. I’ve always managed to find the right words and the correct answer. Even if it’s not the one he wants to hear, I’ve always found the right way of saying it so that he’s happy anyway. With my wife, I can’t even answer the question “What do you want to do today?” without almost getting divorced.
This comes into understanding I suppose, but have you ever had a conversation with your partner that somehow turns into an all out row and you have no idea how? You want to say all the things you want to say, but somewhere between your coherent and well thought out argument in your brain, it just turns into “fuck you” by the time it reaches your lips. Or worse, “You’re turning into your mother!” Yet when I talk to my boss, he talks in a language I understand and there’s never a misunderstanding of intent. When I say something like, “Yes, I’m happy with that” his first response isn’t “What do you mean by that?!” I like talking to my boss, it’s simple, it’s uncomplicated, it’s straightforward.
“I’m sorry baby, I’ve got to work on [insert important event]” is something I find myself saying all too often. Why is it that when my wife asks me to do the slightest thing out of my comfort zone for her benefit, like pop to Ikea for some tealights, I turn into a huffy teenager and make it seem like it’s the biggest sacrifice since a bearded man climbed up onto a cross and said “I got this.” Yet when my boss asks me to do something completely unreasonable, why is my first instinct to make it happen come what may? I always find a way of making it work, usually at my family’s expense, out of some sense of misplaced commitment to this organisation I call work.
So do I love my boss more than my wife?
This is a sorry state of affairs, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m in a meritocracy that rewards ambition and success, and to achieve that you need to have a close enough relationship with your boss in order to anticipate his every need, but I should really be able to apply those principles at home too. I do, and I get it right some of the time, but my success rate is much higher at work. I need to have a word with myself and try much harder to work out what my wife really wants to hear when she asks “Do you think I should eat this last slice of cake?”